On Homosexuality, Pope Francis’ comments, our Church teachings and our Priests

Regarding homosexuality and priesthood, I just have a simple answer to that.

If heterosexual people choose priesthood as their vocation in life, they have to abandon all sexual desires with the opposite sex and any kind of relationships henceforth all their life. So, the same too must apply to homosexual people who choose priesthood as their vocation in life.

It is really simple, but the problem is, many people, regardless whether they are heterosexual or homosexual, they cannot let go, and they give in to the temptations of the devil.

Yes, I agree that “I am not the one to judge”, and indeed, we must love the sinner, but not love the sin. The Church stance remains the same, and the teachings remain the same.

It is that we must not discriminate against those who may seem to be different, but what is important is that, we must make sure that all priests, no matter what orientation they have, must be pure and 100% focused on the Lord in celibate life, without any attachment, be it to the same or opposite gender, since the day they enter the seminary, the day of their ordination, till the day the Lord calls them back into His embrace in heaven.

It is a great sin, to turn one’s back to the Lord and embrace the devil, once he had committed himself fully to the Lord, and became His bride, in the sacred ordination, the moment when the priest is wed to God and His people, to be their servant, to be the leader and shepherd of God’s people.

So yes, sexual abuse by priests is no no, and no to married priests either, regardless of the needs of the diocese, and no to any sexual acts or perversion by priests whatsoever, with anyone, after they had committed themselves and made that choice.

If they cannot commit themselves 100% to the Lord, till the end of their life, then they cannot be priests. Priests are always tempted daily by the devil, but they must persevere. That is why it is so important for us to pray for our priests and support them!

And make sure to inculcate from early on the love for God and His people in our children and our youths, that if there are those who choose to follow the path of a priest, they will have a solid faith and rock-solid foundation, that will help them better to fight the assaults of the devil.

Remember that the Lord Himself had said that in the parable of the two houses, that a wise man builds his house on a solid ground, while a fool builds his house on sand, and when the wind and waves come and blow on them, only the one with solid foundation will remain standing. Therefore, our priests and our potential future priests too must always ensure that they have strong foundations, that is strong and unassailable faith in God, that no evil can shake and topple.

World Youth Day 2013 Rio de Janeiro in numbers (Official)

Official figures for World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (WYD 2013)

3.7 million people attended the Closing Mass at Copacabana Beach
3.5 million people attended the Vigil with the Pope at Copacabana Beach
600, 000 people attended the opening Mass of the World Youth Day 2013 at Copacabana Beach
The total contribution by tourists and pilgrims during the event reached US$ 1.8 billion
1.2 million people attended the Welcoming Ceremony for the Pope at Copacabana Beach
2 million people attended the Via Crucis at Copacabana Beach (the Way of the Cross)
427,000 registered pilgrims
175 countries represented by the pilgrims from all over the world
356,400 pilgrims registered with accommodations
356 400 vacancies available for hosting family homes and institutions (vacant unregistered spaces)
72.7% of the visitors and pilgrims visited Brazil for the very first time
70,000 downloads on the official website of WYD Rio2013 (http://www.rio2013.com/en)
Over 200,000 hits on the site’s official WYD Rio2013 (http://www.rio2013.com/en)
More than 1.1 million Facebook likes on WYD Rio2013 site (http://www.rio2013.com/en)
10,000 downloads in the official WYD Rio2013 Flickr site
644 bishops registered (including 28 cardinals) for WYD 2013
7,814 priests registered for WYD 2013
632 deacons registered for WYD 2013
6400 journalists accredited to cover the WYD to 57 countries
264 places of catechesis, in 25 languages​​
60,000 volunteers helped out in WYD 2013 Rio de Janeiro
More than 800 participating artists from Central Acts
100 confessionals were exhibited at the Fair Vocational and Largo da Carioca
4 million Communion host produced for the whole WYD 2013 event – 800,000 for the Closing Mass alone (insufficient for the actual 3.7 million people attending)
345 tons of organic waste and 45 tons of recyclables during WYD Rio2013 (10% less than that recorded in the New Year celebration of Rio de Janeiro)
55% of the public enrolled at WYD are female
60% of the public enrolled at WYD are between 19 and 34 years (young adults and late teenagers)

Wednesday, 31 July 2013 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ignatius Loyola, Priest (Scripture Reflection)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today, Christ reminded us in the readings, how precious is the Lord to us, how wonderful is His kingdom, that is for us to inherit as eternal reward, if we remain faithful to Him who always loves us. The Kingdom of God is truly a precious and priceless gift to all, that everyone should indeed focus their attention on, as in the allusion made by Christ, that the kingdom of God is likened to a precious and top-quality pearl, so much so that one should sell all they have, just that they can own that wonderful and beautiful pearl.

So beautiful and perfect is the entire glory of God, that as stated in the first reading today, when Moses talked to the Lord face-to-face in the fullness of His glory and majesty, he would be bathed in His perfect and wonderful light, such that his face became the countenance of the Lord Himself, brilliant and radiant like the sun. Such was the glory of God reflected on the face of Moses, that he was compelled to hide his face by the means of the veil, so great is such glory that no one but Moses was allowed to see.

Our Lord Jesus Christ too was glorified on the mountaintop when He was transfigured from His human persona, and revealed the fullness of His glory and majesty. He revealed Himself to Peter, James, and John who were present at His Transfiguration. In that event too, we saw the same thing that had happened to Moses, in how Jesus Himself was transfigured into a figure of perfection and brilliance, except that the light itself came from Christ Himself, not because it was a reflection of God’s glory and majesty as in the case of Moses.

Why is this very important, brothers and sisters in Christ, that we listened to the word of God on how Moses faced God face-to-face? And why I mentioned Christ and His Transfiguration? That is because, brothers and sisters in Christ, we have been made in the image of God, that is our very face and countenance is a reflection of the very image of our God, the Creator Himself. We have the face of the Lord, but yet, we are not perfect as the Lord is perfect.

We were once perfect, in the early days of creation, when Adam and Eve still walked the Gardens of Eden, when they were still pure and without blame. After they had followed the devil instead of the Lord, they had lost sight of the treasure that the Lord would have given them for eternity. Mankind would have had no need to suffer, the suffering that is because of our sin and our rebellion against the Lord. Yet, we are the most beloved ones of the Lord, created in His own image, and He loved us still even after we had been corrupted by the sins our fathers had committed. That was why He sent Jesus Christ to the world, that man may be reunited once again with Him.

In our world, the devil has many tools to steer us away from the true path towards the Lord. There are many things that he can use, in order to continue his subversion of mankind, just as what he had once done to Eve and to Adam. He offered Eve the knowledge of things good and evil, and the tempting suggestion that eating the fruit of the forbidden tree would make her God’s equal. These are the same things he can utilise in our world today, to make us falter in our journey of faith.

We must set our focus right, on the true treasure that is the Lord and His love, and not be distracted by the false and temporary treasures of the world, such as wealth, properties, pleasure, and many other thing this world offers us, and our world offers us as things that we should all pursue. It is not that it is wrong to have money, wealth, and pleasure, because it is perfectly fine for us to have these, if these would help us to live in our increasingly challenging world. We do need money and worldly goods to be able to live on and survive.

What is important is that we do not become distracted by them, that we lost track of our real treasure, that is God. So precious is this wealth to us that we all should be motivated to seek it, and the wealth and treasures we have in this world should be directed to help us to obtain the real treasure. We do not have to go to the extent of selling everything in order to get that true treasure, but certainly, we need to put in effort in order to gain our true treasure and reward in God.

Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, the priest and founder of the Jesuit order, the largest religious order and movement in our Church today, of which our current Pope, Pope Francis, is a member of. St. Ignatius Loyola was born in Spain to a family of noble, who inherited much wealth and affluence in the society. St. Ignatius Loyola was destined to be a great knight and noble, and participated in much activities that the nobles used to do at that time.

St. Ignatius Loyola was born to a life of privilege, to a life of wealth and sufficiency, with all the things that all of us surely would have craved for. He was brought up to be a knight, seeking valour and fame through all his activities, seeking ever greater fame as he grew up, participating frequently in battles and duels in order to gain more fame and power. Yet, as he progressed on through life, he grew unsatisfied by these ‘treasures’ that he had.

St. Ignatius Loyola eventually left all that he had and abandoned the inheritance, the fame, and the glory he had once had, and instead, became the knight of Christ. Therefore, he no longer served himself, his own ego, his own pride and glory, but instead he gave it all to serve the Lord our God. Christendom then was in great turmoil, with people leaving the Church to the Reformation heresy every day. More and more left the Church tempted by the devil and his tools in this world, those who rebelled against the Lord and His Church.

That marked the beginning of the Jesuit order, which was first established by St. Ignatius Loyola and several of his companions. The Jesuit order rapidly grew and spread throughout Europe and Christendom at the time, combatting heresies and evils of the world, converting many back to the true faith, and stemmed the tide of destruction caused by the Reformation. The Reformation itself might have had good intentions, but in its implementation, it was a disaster for the faith, for God’s people, for the Church of God.

That was what the Jesuits, under the leadership of St. Ignatius Loyola was trying to combat and fight, in the Name of the Lord, which was the reason behind their name, that is the Society of Jesus. They, who had found the true treasure in God, and truly treasure this treasure, the priceless treasure, sought to ensure that others too can find their true treasure that is the Lord our God, and not to be misled by the devil into the chasm of damnation in hell, because of their heresy and transgressions against the true faith, as was rampant during the time of St. Ignatius Loyola.

The Jesuits are still active today, and together with many other religious orders, they work to continue the good works started by St. Ignatius Loyola and many other saints, so that more and more souls may be saved and prevented from falling into the traps of Satan. The hard work by St. Ignatius Loyola and his successors ensured that many are saved and received their true treasure in God, their eternal reward of everlasting life in the bliss of heaven.

We too, brothers and sisters in Christ, can do our part to bring more souls and indeed, ourselves to the Lord and His salvation, by ensuring that we keep our focus right, that is to focus ourselves on the real treasure that is the Lord our God, and do not become distracted by the world and all its temptations. Instead, let us use whatever graces and blessings that had been given to us, in wealth and other things, that we may use them as best as possible, to help us to achieve the real treasure of our lives. May St. Ignatius Loyola intercede for us that the Lord will always keep us strong in our struggle against evil and keep us in His embrace and favour, always, forever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ignatius Loyola, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Matthew 13 : 44-46

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. The one who finds it buries it again; and so happy is he, that he goes and sells everything he has, in order to buy that field.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a trader who is looking for fine pearls. Once he has found a pearl of exceptional quality, he goes away, sells everything he has and buys it.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ignatius Loyola, Priest (Psalm)

Psalm 98 : 5, 6, 7, 9

Extol the Lord, our God; worship at His footstool. Holy is He! And mighty!

Among His priests were Moses and Aaron, and Samuel among those who called on His Name. They called to the Lord, and He answered them.

In the pillar of cloud He spoke to them, and they kept His statutes and the decrees He gave them.

Extol the Lord our God; worship at His holy mountain. Holy is the Lord our God!

Wednesday, 31 July 2013 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ignatius Loyola, Priest (First Reading)

Exodus 34 : 29-35

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with two slabs of the Statement in his hands, he was not aware that the skin of his face was radiant after speaking with YHVH. Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw that Moses’ face was radiant and they were afraid to go near him.

But Moses called them, and Aaron with all the leaders of the community drew near, and Moses spoke to them. Afterwards, all the Israelites came near and he told them all that YHVH had commanded him on Mount Sinai. When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.

Whenever Moses went before YHVH to speak with Him, He took of the veil until he came out again. And when he came out and told them what he had been commanded, the Israelites saw that his face was radiant. Moses would then replace the veil over his face until he went again to speak with YHVH.

My Prayer Intention for Tuesday, 30 July 2013

1. For the autistic special school student I have met on the train today. May the Lord watch over you and protect you, that you will not meet harm in this world as you progress through life. May the Lord show you kindness and heal you from your afflictions. May He also be with you and your family through the difficulties of your life.

2. For teachers and my fellow mates in the institute for teacher education I am studying in now. May the Lord be with all of us, and protect us, and bless us as we embark on this learning journey together for the next one year or so. May God who is loving embrace all of us with His love, comfort us whenever we are down and sorrowful, and give us new hope whenever we are in despair. Accompany us at all times, o Lord.

3. For victims of religious persecutions all around the world. May the Lord be with those persecuted for their faith in Him, and free them from the hands of their enemies. May He also bring enlightenment to the hearts of those who hate the people of God, that they will learn the truth and turn their hearts towards the Lord. Let there be no more persecutions of the faithful, but let all mankind return to the Lord our God.

4. For families of the people of God. May the Lord keep the love burning in each families, and may the fire of that love never be quenched out. May the Lord bless the families, especially the children with abundant blessings, and plant the seeds of awareness of the need for families to remain in love and unity, and also having good communications with one another, in each and every members of the family.

May the Lord receive our prayers and listen to our petitions, just as we hear Him in the silence of our hearts. May He send His angels to protect and care for us, and may His saints constantly intercede for us sinners still walking in this world. God bless us all, forever and ever. Amen.